Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Force and Power

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

In this era of expanding and expansive government it serves us well to consider the concept and meaning of force. For government is indeed a repository for and of force, and even a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" can become corrupted. Unless kept in check by a forever vigilant and watchful eye of the people.


Authority and power are two different things: power is the force by means of which you can oblige others to obey you. Authority is the right to direct and command, to be listened to or obeyed by others. Authority requests power. Power without authority is tyranny.

JACQUES MARITAIN, "The Democratic Charter," Man and the State

Power is given only to those who dare to lower themselves and pick it up. Only one thing matters, one thing; to be able to dare!

FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY, Crime and Punishment

It is a mistake, that a lust for power is the mark of a great mind; for even the weakest have been captivated by it; and for minds of the highest order, it has no charms.


Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Circular to the States, May 9, 1753

Power always sincerely, conscientiously, de très bon foi, believes itself right. Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views, beyond the comprehension of the weak.

JOHN ADAMS, letter to Thomas Jefferson, Feb. 2, 1816

Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect all who seek it.

FRANK HERBERT, Chapterhouse: Dune

The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratical council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor. Equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody, and in every respect diabolical.

JOHN ADAMS, letter to Thomas Jefferson, Nov. 13, 1815

My favorite...

I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.

THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to Mr. Leiper, Jun. 12, 1815

Liberty is only a heartbeat away from the authority and power that seeks to shackle us. Let us be ever vigilant and steadfast. Believe not those who would convince you that government, and the power it wields is benign.


  1. Nice collection. I would ask those who trust government and wish to vest it with even more power, what evidence can you show that inspires such confidence?

  2. The tens of millions in the USA, and the hundreds of millions around the World the US government has saved from death, poverty, illness, oppression, etc., etc. The United States government has done those things on our behalf. What the American government has done, inspires confidence, in millions of ways.

  3. We have to in some small measure blame the citizenry. I mean, we're the ones who are constantly slobbering up this nonsense, rewarding the law-makers for their constant law/bureaucracy-making. Wouldn't it be awesome if they occasionally took a look at these laws and regulations to see if they were still applicable?


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